Today I’m going to show you how to make the perfect sous vide steak.
But first, a confession: I have a hate-love relationship with my sous vide machine, which I’ve quietly owned for 3 years now. I hate it because needlessly prolongs the cooking of certain foods (like eggs), with no obvious difference in the outcome from conventional cooking. I love it because I can set it and forget it, like a slow cooker. I hate it because I feel pretentious when I use it. I love it because it makes perfect sous vide steak, like I did the other day for Meimei’s 7th birthday.
The most popular type of sous vide machine is basically a plug-in “stick” that gently heats a pot of water and holds that water at a constant temperature. Foods (mostly meats) are then placed in a vacuum-sealed bag to “cook” at a low, slow temperature for several hours. The advantage to cooking foods in a vacuum-sealed environment is that you don’t risk bacterial contamination (there’s no warm air circulating around the food) and the only flavors that penetrate are the ones that you include in the bag before you seal it up. The result is tender, moist food that has flavor permeating through it after hours of cooking.
I discovered that sous vide steak is basically a perfect, infallible food. I buy flat iron steaks — just about the toughest, cheapest cut of beef that you can call a steak. I add a marinade (recipe below), and the steak cooks with the marinade for 5 hours. After that, the steak needs just a few minutes in a scorching hot pan to get that nice, dark brown caramelized crust. The result is sous vide steak that is so tender you can slice it with a butter knife. If you’re using my marinade, there’s a satisfying sweetness and tang to the steak that is truly, awesomely addictive.
The major advantage of using a sous vide to make steak is that the meat turns out medium rare (i.e., a warm red center) from edge to edge. Cooking a steak conventionally on a grill or a hot pan means that you have to really sear the steaks on each side to seal in the juices and ensure tenderness. The issue is that those edges make the meat tougher. Using a sous vide means that you cook the meat evenly, slowly all the way through.
If you’re in the market for a sous vide machine, I’d start by looking at the cookers made by Anova, which is the brand I have (note that I’m not being paid to say this). My version only has Bluetooth connection, and unfortunately the range is not great, so I can’t monitor cooking from the app on my phone if I’m more than a few feet away. I’d definitely opt for a sous vide that connects to home wifi for that reason. The other brand that’s been making waves is the Joules by Breville, which I haven’t personally tried but also looks straightforward and easy to use.
So, are you ready to tackle 2020 with the most flavorful, tender sous vide steak in your arsenal? Let’s get to it!
- 4 flat iron steaks (approximately 2 lbs)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for finishing
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons garlic, finely minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Mix together everything except the flat iron steaks in a medium bowl, then pour the mixture into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag.
- Add the steaks and turn the steaks over inside the bag to coat it with the marinade. Try to arrange the steaks in a single layer.
- Fill your sous vide pot (I use a large pasta pot) with water and attach your sous vide machine. Gently lower the Ziploc bag into the water and slowly seal the bag, making sure there are no air bubbles in the bag.
- Set the temperature of your sous vide at 131 degrees Fahrenheit (55 Celsius) and cook for 5 hours.
- When the steaks are almost finished cooking, heat a skillet over medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil inside.
- Remove the steaks from the bag and discard the marinade. Sear the steaks for about 3 minutes on each side, pressing down on them with a spatula to get a nice brown crust.
- Slice the steaks across the grain and serve drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with more salt and pepper.
Like this recipe? Check out these other great recipes!
- Blood Orange Polenta Cake
- Roasted Butternut Squash & Kale Salad
- Whole30 Roast Pork with Apples & Carrots
- Whole30 Steak, Mango & Brussels Sprouts